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ax

[aks] /æks/
noun, plural axes
[ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/ (Show IPA)
1.
an instrument with a bladed head on a handle or helve, used for hewing, cleaving, chopping, etc.
2.
Jazz Slang. any musical instrument.
3.
the ax, Informal.
  1. dismissal from employment:
    to get the ax.
  2. expulsion from school.
  3. rejection by a lover, friend, etc.:
    His girlfriend gave him the ax.
  4. any usually summary removal or curtailment.
verb (used with object), axed, axing.
4.
to shape or trim with an ax.
5.
to chop, split, destroy, break open, etc., with an ax:
The firemen had to ax the door to reach the fire.
6.
Informal. to dismiss, restrict, or destroy brutally, as if with an ax:
The main office axed those in the field who didn't meet their quota. Congress axed the budget.
Also, axe.
Idioms
7.
have an ax to grind, to have a personal or selfish motive:
His interest may be sincere, but I suspect he has an ax to grind.
Origin
1000
before 1000; Middle English; ax(e), ex(e), Old English æx, æces; akin to Gothic aquizi, Old Norse øx, ǫx, Old High German acc(h)us, a(c)kus (German Axt), Middle High German plural exa < Germanic *akwiz-, akuz-, aksi-*ákəs, áks-; Latin ascia (< *acsiā), Greek axī́nē; < Indo-European *ag-s-
Related forms
axlike, adjective

axe

[aks] /æks/
noun, plural axes
[ak-siz] /ˈæk sɪz/ (Show IPA),
verb, axed, axing.
1.
ax.
Can be confused
acts, ask, axe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for axing

axe

/æks/
noun (pl) axes
1.
a hand tool with one side of its head forged and sharpened to a cutting edge, used for felling trees, splitting timber, etc See also hatchet
2.
an axe to grind
  1. an ulterior motive
  2. a grievance
  3. a pet subject
3.
(informal) the axe
  1. dismissal, esp from employment; the sack (esp in the phrase get the axe)
  2. (Brit) severe cutting down of expenditure, esp the removal of unprofitable sections of a public service
4.
(US, slang) any musical instrument, esp a guitar or horn
verb (transitive)
5.
to chop or trim with an axe
6.
(informal) to dismiss (employees), restrict (expenditure or services), or terminate (a project)
Word Origin
Old English æx; related to Old Frisian axa, Old High German acchus, Old Norse öx, Latin ascia, Greek axinē
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for axing
ax
O.E. æces (Northumbrian acas), later æx, from P.Gmc. *akusjo (cf. O.S. accus, O.N. ex, O.Fris. axe, Ger. Axt, Goth. aqizi), from PIE *agw(e)si- (cf. Gk. axine, L. ascia). Meaning "musical instrument" is 1955, originally jazz slang for the saxophone; rock slang for "guitar" dates to 1967. The ax in fig. sense of cutting of anything (expenses, workers, etc.), especially as a cost-saving measure, is from 1922, probably from the notion of the headman's literal axe (itself attested from mid-15c.). To have an axe to grind is from an 1815 essay by U.S. newspaper editor Charles Miner (17801865) in which a man flatters a boy and gets him to do the chore of axe-grinding for him, then leaves without offering thanks or recompense. Misattributed to Benjamin Franklin in Weekley, OED print edition, and many other sources.
"The spelling ax is better on every ground, of etymology, phonology, and analogy, than axe, which became prevalent during the 19th century; but it is now disused in Britain." [OED]
axe
see ax.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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axing in Medicine

ax abbr.
axis

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for axing

ax

noun
  1. Any musical instrument, esp the saxophone: He played his ax at the casino (1950s+ Jazz musicians)
  2. A guitar (Rock and roll)
verb
  1. To dismiss someone from a job, a team, a school, a relationship, etc; can, fire: who suggested to Reagan that Deaver be axed
  2. To eliminate; cut: They axed a lot of useless stuff from the budget

[musical instrument sense fr the resemblance in shape between a saxophone and an ax, and possibly fr the rhyme with sax]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Related Abbreviations for axing

AX

ask (shortwave transmission)
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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axing in the Bible

used in the Authorized Version of Deut. 19:5; 20:19; 1 Kings 6:7, as the translation of a Hebrew word which means "chopping." It was used for felling trees (Isa. 10:34) and hewing timber for building. It is the rendering of a different word in Judg. 9:48, 1 Sam. 13:20, 21, Ps. 74:5, which refers to its sharpness. In 2 Kings 6:5 it is the translation of a word used with reference to its being made of iron. In Isa. 44:12 the Revised Version renders by "axe" the Hebrew _maatsad_, which means a "hewing" instrument. In the Authorized Version it is rendered "tongs." It is also used in Jer. 10:3, and rendered "axe." The "battle-axe" (army of Medes and Persians) mentioned in Jer. 51:20 was probably, as noted in the margin of the Revised Version, a "maul" or heavy mace. In Ps. 74:6 the word so rendered means "feller." (See the figurative expression in Matt. 3:10; Luke 3:9.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with axing
In addition to the idiom beginning with ax also see: get the ax
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for ax

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Word Value for axing

13
15
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